Nothing spices up a boring work week like lusting after a good-looking cubicle mate.

Working in close proximity to a hunky colleague transforms a dull office environment into a flirtatious playground. And while some people might never get beyond innocent banter at the photocopier, there are more and more individuals turning their workplace crush into a full-blown romance.

Most of us spend 40-plus hours a week at work and, as a result, our offices have become the default place to meet potential partners. Mixing pleasure with business certainly has its benefits. Who wouldn’t want a standing lunch date or an opportunity to indulge in a mid-week (hump-day) quickie in the conference room?

But is coupling off with a co-worker always a good idea? Of course not. Intra-office love affairs may have their perks but a convenient fling could turn into a major career faux pas if you’re not careful.

Before you take your office crush to the next level, brush up on the company’s official policy when it comes to employee relationships. Is there something specific about this in the HR handbook or is it just “frowned upon?” Make sure you have a clear understanding of the consequences before you risk your career for a tryst with a sexy desk buddy.

Regardless of whether there are formal rules against it, entering into a relationship with a co-worker requires some serious consideration.

If you do decide to begin dating, be sure to exercise some discretion around your co-workers. Then again, you have to realize that while you might try to keep it a secret initially, your colleagues will inevitably find out. When they do, you’ll have to be ready for your private life to become hot gossip for the office rumour mill.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to determine if the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to an after-hours romance. A serious love affair might be worth the trouble but a casual fling, while sexy and convenient, probably won’t justify the potential fallout. Think about it — do you really want to spend eight hours a day working with your ex?

Sure, when it’s good it might be really good — but if it all goes horribly wrong, you just might need to quit your job. Breakups are bad enough, but when you simultaneously lose a relationship and a paycheque the results can be devastating.

– Read more of Jessica Napier’s columns at